Fund for Community Good
As our communities grow and evolve over time, so do the issues and opportunities we face. This reality is at the heart of why community foundations exist. Community foundations are about people coming together to express their love, passion and commitment for the places they call home, well after their lifetime. They create opportunities for individuals and families to leave legacies of kindness and care that will manifest during their life, and beyond. Since 1922, Grand Rapids Community Foundation has set out to play a key role in identifying and solving community problems throughout Kent County. The mission is simple, yet mighty: “To build and manage our community’s permanent endowment and lead the community to strengthen the lives of its people.” Our endowment is made up of gifts from donors, pooled with hundreds and thousands of gifts from fellow community members. These gifts are invested in the stock market and managed by a committee of experienced professionals for longterm growth. Each year, a portion of these gifts is then granted out to support the work of nonprofit organizations on the front lines of service in Kent County. These gifts will grow to help secure a fruitful future for generations to come.
PARTNERS in community | 4
Our Fund for Community Good contributes only a portion of our annual grantmaking, but it may be our most widely known resource. This unrestricted fund allows us to address unexpected and changing needs, so it is a vehicle for donors to practice flexibility and responsiveness to help future generations.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” GREEK PROVERB The growth of the Fund for Community Good has made it possible for the Community Foundation to actively seek long-term solutions to complicated problems in West Michigan. Donor partners trust us to stay abreast of the most pressing community issues of the day and to forge strong partnerships with responsive nonprofit organizations and community leaders. This growth has supported our response to critical issues ranging from the nursing shortage that arose amidst World War II in the 1940s, to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Contributions planted by donors long gone made it possible for us to take a stand against child abuse and neglect in the 1990s and to blaze new trails in support of public education in the 2000s.
Growth for All Today, the most critical issue impacting Kent County is the pursuit of racial, social and economic justice for all. Certainly, it’s a moral issue that impacts children and families throughout Kent County and their ability to thrive. But justice is also an economic growth issue, because it affects the region’s ability to acquire and retain employees. It influences how West Michigan shows up in a global economy, where cultural competency can make or break deals and relationships. Our region’s growth depends on being intentional about business development, employment opportunities and quality education.